A key issue with online storage is the uploading function. Typically files are uploaded one at a time via a web interface, which is fine for just a file or two but breaks down under heavy usage. Flickr and some other sites have mitigated this problem by creating a desktop-based application that users can drag multiple files into. Sites that don’t have this are seriously limited in their ability to serve customers. Fluxiom has come up with a unique way to deal with the issue without a desktop uploader – by allowing users to zip up files and upload them all in one go. While this works in theory, and I was able to upload a zipped folder with multiple files, Fluxiom did not automatically unzip the folder and I could not determine a way to do it with the service.
Fluxiom in general handles files extremely well. Uploaded files can be viewed by thumbnail or file name. Thumbnails can be resized with an Ajax slider (gimmicky but cool). Sharing, versioning and other features are all supported, as is tagging in a limited form (you must predefine tags beforehand, they cannot be created on the fly when uploading files. Fluxiom’s search is also very good.
So, on the product side, I have no complaints other than the issues I had with uploading zipped folders, and the desire to tag-on-the-fly.
On to Pricing.
Fluxiom is smoking something if they think they can mass market their product with no free version and minimum pricing of 9 Euros (about $11.21) per month for just 200 MB of storage. And while they offer a 30 day free trial for all accounts, they require a credit card to open an account. If you don’t terminate before the end of the free trial, your card is automatically charged.
Pricing for online storage has effectively been benchmarked by Amazon’s S3 – $0.15/month/GB of storage and $0.20/GB transferred. At those much more reasonable prices, Fluxiom’s 200 MB product should cost $0.03 per month (plus a bit for bandwidth), not 9 Euros. To look at this another way, Fluxiom’s pricing is 373 times what Amazon would charge for the same storage. Yes, Fluxiom has built a nice interface on top of their storage service, but this pricing is flat out outrageous.
So, Fluxiom is a great product but the team needs to seriously reconsider pricing if they want to compete in the already crowded online storage market. See Solution Watch, Pete Cashmore and Orli Yakuel for more.
Note: If you’d like to test an account, you can enter 4111111111111111 as a credit card number (at least until they disable it).